June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.331.1 - 13.331.9
Context-Based Problems and Exercises for Teaching Engineering Economy
Traditionally, methods of teaching engineering economy draw on resources such as textbooks1-5, websites6 and papers7. Often, engineering economy courses follow the ‘given this, find that’ style of exercises to introduce and reinforce basic concepts. Developing examples and exercises that are interesting, engaging, and provide context is a challenging problem for courses with students enrolled from a variety of majors. Yet, we know that without proper context to their discipline, students will not find relevance or understand why they should care to learn engineering economy. To students it may be just another course to check off the requirements list. Further, students from disciplines other than industrial engineering (IE) often learn engineering economy as part of another required course within their discipline. For example, mechanical engineers will be introduced to engineering economy concepts in an introductory or senior course in engineering design. For this situation, non-IE students typically do not purchase a textbook in engineering economy, but rely on instructor provided materials.
When students become seniors, we expect that they will remember, integrate, synthesize and assimilate topics that have been ‘poured into their heads’ over the prior 3-4 years as they take on a capstone design project. Faculty teaching capstone design may introduce or reinforce a variety of topics, such as engineering economy, that will support the design process and other learning objectives that have not been covered earlier in the curriculum. The review of topics in preparation for the FE exam may also be a priority in the senior year.
While there are a number of excellent textbooks1-5 on engineering economy, and authors make every effort to improve these textbooks over time with added examples and exercises and new ways of conveying concepts, these updates come every few years and do not provide a dynamic mechanism to continuously improve. Sharing example problems from a variety of disciplinary perspectives is limited and infrequent. Moreover, submitting suggested problems and improvements to the textbook to authors is limited compared to the size of the community. And again, there is a time delay from when suggestions are provided and when these might be included in a new edition. If student A reads the textbook but has better insight on the subject due to experience in the field, the student may be in a position to give some real life example where he found the application of the studied principles to be useful. One cannot add this example to the textbook directly. To avoid trouble of communication with the authors, student A is likely to never communicate improvements to the author. As a result of this, someone who could have benefited more by learning about A’s experience loses out on the opportunity. This lack of dynamic mechanism to continuously improve learning resources is the same for conventional websites, and other printed media such as journal and conference papers.
This paper proposes a material collection and usage method that can be used to learn or review engineering economy. A wiki framework provides the means to post instructional materials on
Kesharwani, R., & Chang, X., & Terpenny, J., & sullivan, W. (2008, June), Context Based Problems And Exercises For Teaching Engineering Economy Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4491
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